A cheap iPhone was never Apple’s goal, CEO Tim Cook says

Apple CEO Tim Cook at the announcement of new iPhones.
(Glenn Chapman / AFP/Getty Images)

In one of the few interviews Tim Cook does each year, the Apple CEO said it was never the company’s intention to make a low-cost iPhone and compete with others in the “junk business.”

Speaking with Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook addressed complaints from investors about the cost of the iPhone 5c, a low-cost version of the popular Apple smartphone that many originally believed was aimed at customers in emerging markets such as China. The iPhone 5c is $100 cheaper than the iPhone 5s, but it’s still far more expensive than other smartphones on the market.

“We never had an objective to sell a low-cost phone,” Cook said in the interview. “Our primary objective is to sell a great phone and provide a great experience, and we figured out a way to do it at a lower cost.”


Cook said that in any electronics market --- from DVDs and VCRs to PCs and tablets -- there always emerges a “junk” market for companies that offer products at incredibly low prices. He said Apple isn’t in that business.

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“There’s a segment of the market that really wants a product that does a lot for them, and I want to compete like crazy for those customers,” he said. “I’m not going to lose sleep over that other market, because it’s just not who we are.”

Apple’s stock price took a hit after the company announced the iPhone 5s and 5c last week, in large part because of the price of the 5c, but Cook said he doesn’t let Apple’s share price dictate what the company does.

“Am I happy about that [the drop in share price]? No, I’m not,” Cook said. “You have to bring yourself back to, ‘Are you doing the right things?’ And so that’s what I focus on, instead of letting somebody else or a thing like the market define how I should feel.”

In the interview, Cook also talked about the competition between Apple and Android, Google’s mobile operating system.

A few years ago, Apple nearly dominated the smartphone market, but these days, Android holds a larger market share.

Cook said he doesn’t fret because although people buy Android, they use Apple’s products more. The article cites a statistic that 55% of mobile Web activity comes from Apple devices and only 28% from Android.

“Does a unit of market share matter if it’s not being used?” Cook said. “For us, it matters that people use our products. We really want to enrich people’s lives, and you can’t enrich somebody’s life if the product is in the drawer.”


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